I had never heard of Loving Hut until a fellow Aussie vegan blogger residing in Brisbane wrote how it was one of his favourite restaurants early last year. I was thrilled to learn a Perth branch opened. Not just one, but two! A restaurant and a café!
First off, a history of the business. It’s a family of global vegan restaurants that has won numerous awards such as VegNews 2012 Favourite Vegan Restaurant, 2012 Vegan of the Year: Outstanding Vegan Business (Asia) and 2012 Vegan of the Year: Oustanding Vegan Restaurant (UK/Europe) – Menton, France. The founder believes (as do all vegans) “a plant-based diet is healthier, more compassionate, and is the only sustainable diet for the whole planet”.
Each Loving Hut is individually owned and managed (ie. Owners are given full autonomy of the menu), meaning no two restaurants are the same.
I have been to both Perth Loving Huts several times, and on this occasion hubby and I dropped in for breakfast to the café. I opted for the raw sandwich, only because it was something I’d never tried before and hubby chose the Big Breakfast. For drinks – two freshly pressed juices.
Hubby is blessed with a fast metabolism. He can eat like a horse and not exercise. Doesn’t gain a kilo. Mucho unfair *fist shaking in the air*. He was sceptical how ‘big’ Loving Hut’s Big Breakfast was going to be, but ceased all worrying when his food arrived.
For $15, it’s really good value. Toast, scrambled tofu, cherry tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms and a vegan sausage. He managed to finish it and said the scramble tasted exactly like eggs.
My raw sandwich consisted of ‘bread’ on either side of julienned vegetables. The dehydrated flaxseed bread wasn’t too salty and the texture was as bread-like as you could get. It was just right. The tasty relishes on the side were ohhh la la. One was tomato chutney and the other I’m actually not sure. It was sweet and yellow. Hmm, will have to ask next time.
A cursory glance at the desserts cabinet and I’m a goner. I never can say no. Problem: It was a bit early for sweets in the day. Solution: Takeaway! Hubby was too full to even go halves with me. On previous occasions I’d tried the (cooked) tiramisu, chocolate, mocha and carrot cakes, and of course the to-die-for soft serve icecream. Opting for the raw route, I take home a slice of raw mixed berry cheesecake and a raw pistachio macaroon. (Side note: later that afternoon we devoured the desserts. Hubby said it’s the best raw cheesecake he’s had out of all the establishments we’ve tried!)
The Loving Hut café not only has organic coffee, teas, juices, a salad bar, hot food station and dessert cabinet – they also dedicate a few shelves to vegan products such as Notzarella cheese, Primal Strips seitan vegan jerky, the Lam Yong range and Tofutti mock cream cheese among others.
As we were enjoying our meal, there was a steady stream of customers dropping in. The owner of Loving Hut Perth, Lee, says a wide variety of people come through the doors. Many are not vegans, they simply want a good feed that doesn’t cost the earth, like most things in Perth.
The next time I visit? I notice they have a Vegan Dim Sum on the menu. Their menu changes according to what’s in season, which keeps things fresh and sustainable.
Want to know more?
The Loving Hut Low Down: 1 Minute with Lee Mah, Owner of Loving Hut Perth
Lee Mah and her entire family are vegan. She has a background in the restaurant business, owning two vegetarian establishments before foraying into the Loving Hut family. In addition to running the two Loving Huts, Lee is also the Western Australian producer of vegan cheese Notzarella. Those that haven’t tried it – you gotta. A subtle tasting cheese, it melts and shreds just like mainstream cheese. Melted on top of pizzas, lasagnas or as a grilled ‘cheeze’ sandwich? Ohh la la…
Vegetarian / vegan since:
Vegetarian for over 15 years, vegan for 5 years.
Most popular dishes on the menu:
Thai green curry, sizzling peking and the mushroom delight.
Most touching Loving Hut moment:
At last week’s Running Raw around Australia Fundraising event in Cottesloe, Lee experienced something innately rewarding. A customer told her that her mother, after visiting Loving Hut Perth Cafe some months ago – has turned vegan. Lee further shares “I am touched…., and overwhelmed with gratitude and warmth. Though we have no intention of trying to convert anyone, we are simply providing vegan food and a venue for people to have an experience of eating vegan meals, However comments like this mean a lot to us all at Loving Hut Perth.”
(Note: Running Raw around Australia is the initiative of cancer survivor Janette Murray-Wakelin & partner Alan Murray. This couple are running 1 marathon per day for 365 days around the nation. Why? To draw attention to conscious lifestyle choices, kindness, compassion, sustainability and environmental awareness).
The Future of Loving Hut:
Exciting plans are underway to expand Notzarella production and Loving Hut’s famous pies. In just 3 weeks’ time, you’ll be able to purchase Lee’s pies from your local IGA. Hurrah! Cue happy dance here. As for Notzarella, Melbourne and Adelaide will follow suit, and there are currently 100 outlets in WA which stock it with this number set to increase.
Lee describes Loving Hut as being the medium to which she can promote a benevolent and peaceful world, a simple, humble vegan cafe and restaurant which is hoping to be able to serve the Perth community.